Thursday, October 30, 2008

How free to be radical can an academic really be?

"Who wants to be an academic these days, and what do they do? All the smart people go and work for McKinsey, right? They’re all bankers or something. Who wants to come and waste seven, eight years of their life on their intellectual passion to be trained and prepared for a life as teacher in a university? I don’t want to sacrifice my professional probity, but most academics are not people who change the terms of academic debate; they are people who recycle and elaborate on the insights of others. That’s what most of us do. And if you’re not one of those people, if you have an original agenda of your own, it’s not always easy to get it recognized. It’s not always easy to work across disciplinary lines; it’s not always attractive to be an intellectual—and I don’t mean a public intellectual, but to be an intellectual rather than a scholar. Sometimes those things are pulled in different directions, and it would be silly to pretend that tension isn’t there."
Paul Gilroy

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MInerva controversy

"In any case, the best of today’s anthropologists are practically paralyzed by their awareness of the way power shapes and corrupts knowledge."
Priya Satia

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funding for literature in/from the Caribbean

Nikolai over at Antilles

To the best of my knowledge--and I'd be thrilled to be informed otherwise--no Commonwealth Caribbean country can boast an agency, whether state-funded or private, that gives regular, consistent, and substantial financial support to our small, struggling publishing industry. Occasionally a ministry of culture or a large corporation will give an ad hoc grant to a specific book project. The government of Guyana funds the admirable Guyana Prizes for Literature, but that benefits publishers only indirectly, if the sales of a prize-winning book increase. The government of Barbados has funded the revival of the journal Bim--I'll post more about that one of these days--and the Central Bank of Barbados funds the annual Frank Collymore Literary Awards. But there is simply no equivalent in this part of the world to the kind of basic support that the Canada Council for the Arts gives to Canadian publishers--or that the Arts Council of England gives to many small British publishers, or that various national and regional arts bodies give to small American publishers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Capital desires accumulation

"More than that, what we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street, I believe, should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology. It cannot simply be written off as corruption or greed, because what we have been living, since Reagan, is a policy of liberating the forces of greed to discard the idea of the government as regulator, of protecting citizens and consumers from the detrimental impact of greed, ideas that, of course, gained great currency after the market crash of 1929, but that really what we have been living is a liberation movement, indeed the most successful liberation movement of our time, which is the movement by capital to liberate itself from all constraints on its accumulation."

Naomi Klein on Democracy Now

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A failure of leadership

It occurs to me that in the last 7 years Euro-American society has been offered the opportunity to redefine its core on two occasions. First was 9/11 when many saw restraint and dialogue as a chance to ask why something like this would occur, what was it that made people so fundamentalist? What were the conditions they were living under, what was our own role in their bitterness? We know what happened. Instead of dialogue there was war, lies, more war, oil robbery and a long list of negative impacts. Over the last month we have been offered another chance at change, at a new way of living in the world. This time the desire for a more socially conscious form of capitalism has also been usurped by maintaining and pursuing inequality. Institutionalising it further. We could say there is a global class elite, consolidating its control and power – and yes there is that going. However, fundamentally I believe it’s a failure of leadership. We have the wrong people in positions of power in every country, every council and every piece of industry. The people who might be able to help never get these jobs or go for them. The voices who need to be heard who have vision, imagination, conscience are found in spaces where their dreams, experience and vocal cords make no difference to the political and economic decisions that define our present and the future we're moving into. Am i disappointed? Certainly. Are we without hope? Certainly not. But maybe we need more than hope

Check out Naomi Klein's take over at democracy now...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


"the summer of 1999, against the wishes of people who paid attention during their economics classes, our ‘prudent’ Chancellor of the Exchequer,[Today Prime Minster] Mr Gordon Brown, started selling off over half of Britain’s gold reserves (three hundred and ninety-five tonnes in total) for a knockdown price of around $275.00 a troy ounce."


"Having broken through the $1,000 barrier earlier in the year, the gold price has retreated slightly and is now trading at around $880 an ounce."